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New England Will Struggle To Fill Advanced Manufacturing Jobs, Study Finds

Advanced manufacturing fields like aerospace, biotechnology and defense are areas with great potential for our region. But a study commissioned by the New England Council also found some challenges.

The study, conducted by Deloitte Consulting, says as many as 100,000 advanced manufacturing jobs in New England may go unfilled in the next decade. Of those, 5,500 are in Vermont.

And the study found that the biggest challenge will be training a workforce that possesses the requisite skills for advanced manufacturing.

“You can't easily quote-unquote train for these jobs. You need to educate for these jobs," says Patricia Moulton, Vermont's Agency of Commerce and Community Development secretary. "These are not the kinds of things that generally that you can put through an eight-week training program and expect that they're going to have the proficiency to advance throughout their career.”

Moulton says that in order to meet the needs of these industries, we must make sure that our education system, from kindergarten through college, provides adequate science, technology, engineering and math instruction.

The Vermont Manufacturing Extension Center in Randolph helps companies implement systems as well as train employees from the shop floor to the front office. Bob Zider, the director and CEO, says critical thinking is a crucial quality for manufacturing employees.

"The types of people that we need today in an advanced manufacturing company are people that have critical thinking skills and who are interested in innovating," Zider says.

Zider thinks that the state has the resources we need, but thinks that we need to work together more cooperatively, creatively and innovatively.

The state does have several programs like the Vermont Training Program and the Workforce Education and Training Fund that can help businesses meet their staffing needs.

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